Manali tourist destination Himachal Pradesh

Sethan Village, In Hamta Valley, Himachal Pradesh

After a few nights in Charanag, in Hallan Valley — a small town tucked away from Manali, in Himachal Pradesh — it was time to relax and lose myself in oblivion, once again. And Sethan, in Hamta Valley, sounded like a perfect name.

Located approximately a 45-minute drive from Manali, Sethan was a place for slow travellers – particularly during winter, when snow claims its ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, becomes impossible!

sethan snowfall

But it is not the fact that Sethan becomes inaccessible during snowfall that’s the charm of visiting Sethan, it is, the view of the Kullu Valley…

sethan, hamta valley

In March, the valley was draped in white. The weather in Sethan was cold, with the temperature staying below zero degrees Celcius for weeks. Little flakes of happiness – the snow – had covered the entire valley with a sheet of white.

From Sethan village, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges. River Beas flowing right next to it divides Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal where Hamta Valley is located.

hamta valley

The inhabitants of Sethan are the original migrants from Tibet and Spiti Valley. They are all Buddhist people and used to come to Hamta Valley as horse herders, to do trade. They were given land in Hamta Valley by the then Government of India when Himachal Pradesh was still a part of Punjab.

During winter, most of them move to the lower altitude towns in Kullu Valley, leaving Sethan a beautifully deserted town, before moving back in summer again, and resuming their usual farming business. But with less than 20 houses it remains a beautiful offbeat place meant to relax and unwind.

Where To Stay In Sethan

Since it is a small town housing no more than 20 properties (out of which many are homes for local people only) the accommodation is fairly limited. There are very limited hotels and camping sites. Don’t look for hotels there because that will be a very Manali-like boring experience.

So speaking of where to stay, you can either choose to stay in an Igloo. An igloo experience is only available in winter. To some, Sethan is also known as Igloo Village Manali.

Please note that Igloos are only available between January and March. Starting in April, the igloos start melting.

igloo manali sethan

If not Igloo, I suggest to you my traditional mudhouse called FootlooseCamps which happens to be a nearly 100-year-old traditional Himachali House converted into a boutique stay. If you’re one of those people who enjoy minimalism and raw and rustic experience, this place is for you.

Located in over 300 apple-tree orchards, if there’s one thing we guarantee it’s a peaceful experience. The entire mountain where our mudhouse is located has no other hotels/guesthouses.

Here are a few pictures of the mudhouse and the rooms. You can also visit our Instagram page for more photos:

himachali house

manali night photo

manali winter

 

Footloosecamps

sethan hotel

So yeah, if you’re wondering where to stay in Sethan, I suggest you look for something quirky and adventurous over a boring hotel or a guesthouse.

We also have luxury domes available now (with and without jacuzzi)…

geodesic domes hotel

manali glamping hotel

We are not located in Sethan but before Sethan in the same valley called Hamta Valley. The reason why it’s not located in Sethan is that Sethan has no phone network and no view.

All guesthouses and resorts (belonging to people outside of native villagers) are located outside (and before) the village for the same reason. Even BSNL has no network in Sethan. Around half a kilometre before you enter Sethan Village phone networks disappear. Additionally, the valley view – that most people visit Hamta for – isn’t available in Sethan.

And I am talking about this valley view…

kullu manali

sethan hamta

Another reason why all guesthouses are located outside of Sethan is that taxis to Sethan are very expensive, making it impossible for budget travellers to visit if they don’t have their vehicles.

From Manali Mall Road, taxis charge a minimum of 2000 Rupees to Sethan (during the offseason, and this fare can go to 6000 Rupees during the peak winter season). Taxis to FootlooseCamps, eg take 800 Rupees and 2500 to 3000 during the peak winter season.

Other places to stay in Hamta Valley, around Sethan, are Glamping Club, Mystic Heist, Awe Glamping, Dream Hamta Cafe, Nirvana Hamta Retreat, and more.

How To Reach Sethan from Manali & Other Places

You will first have to reach Manali (by bus taxi or self-drive). If you are wondering about Delhi to Manali, read this blog here. For Delhi to Sethan, first, reach Manali and then further. From Manali, Sethan is approximately 15km away.

There is no airport in Manali, similarly, there is no nearest Airport to Sethan either.

From Manali

It is easily accessible from Manali, throughout the year. Get a night bus from Delhi to Manali, and from Manali, readily available taxis can take you from Manali to Sethan from 2000 to 6000 Rupees depending upon the season.

Tip: Share the taxi with a few people to save money.

manali to sethanIf you’re wondering if can you go to Sethan by car, let me tell you that you can. And it will be even better. How? Because you don’t even need to go to Manali. Just take the old Kullu Manali highway (from Kullu) that passes through Naggar, and reach Prini. Prini is located 3 km from Manali and can be navigated on Google Maps. From Prini, you will find a road going uphill on your right, towards Hamta Valley. Just take that road for the next 15 km (and 35 hairpin bends) and you reach Sethan village.

For easy navigation, search for ‘Footloose Camps’ on Google Maps. Or contact me on Instagram: instagram.com/footloosecamps, and I will be happy to help!

Useful Travel Tips

  • I have seen a lot of people searching for Sethan Valley on Google. Please note that there is no valley called Sethan Valley. The valley where it is located is called Hamta Valley.
  • To give you a better idea, Hamta Valley rises perpendicularly to Kullu Valley. Think of it as a high mountain pass that connects Manali in Kullu Valley to Kaza in Spiti Valley.
  • Unlike in Manali, here you won’t find much to see and do. There are no popular temples or waterfalls. It is a small village meant for those who appreciate the idea of slow travel. If you’re one of those people who visit mountains to relax and unwind, this is your kind of place. If, however, you’re looking for things to see and do, you may be disappointed.
  • There are no cafes in the village but just a couple of dhabas where you can find things like Maggi and Parantha.
  • The entire ambience is very village-like — no fancy shops, no cafes, no vibrant crowd.
  • It is also possible to do a day trip to Hamta Valley. Just catch a taxi from Manali, spend a day lazying around, and return.
  • Taxis from Manali to Sethan take between 2000 to 6000 Rupees, depending upon the kind of taxi (Sumo or an Alto) and the season. If it’s peak season and most taxis are booked, they may charge extra.

You Need An Online Permit To Get Here

Sethan and the entire Hamta Valley is a protected areas. You need to obtain an online permit to access Hamta Road. As soon as you start on Hamta Road, you will be stopped at the ADHP (Adhani Hydro Project) barricade for an online permit that requires you to fill out a short form and pay 250 Rupees for cars and 100 Rupees for motorcycles.

I made this video in 2017, during my first visit to the village and Hamta Valley. As I said above, many things have changed, but you will still get a good idea of what to expect. The video includes my Manali to Sethan journey, my first snowboarding and snow-hiking experience, and more…

What To See & Do In Sethan

The town sits at an altitude of over 2700m above sea level (almost 700m higher than Manali). It offers a combination of winter and summer adventure activities. One can compare it with the likes of Solang Valley minus the crowd.

sethan snow experienceBetween December and March, Hamta Valley receives heavy snowfall making its grassy land ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and snow-hiking. And thanks to its offbeat location and no chair lift, the chances of bumping into a fellow skier are always very low.

Though you may bump into a bear if you’re that unlucky (just kidding!) rest assured, you will enjoy the exclusivity of the place. During the summer, the place is ideal for camping and trekking.

snowboarding and skiing

[Also Read: My First Snowboarding Experience]

I was told that the land around Sethan is of high religious significance too.

Around 2 kilometres from the village lies Pandu Ropa – a place where Pandavas (before the time of Mahabharata) stayed and meditated. They also used a part of the land to grow crops, making it no less auspicious for the believers.

If you move further and trek towards the east, you will end up at Indrasana Peak (6200m) which is believed to be the throne of Indra (or the Rain God).

sethan village

So yea, if you are visiting Sethan during winter months (December, January, February and March) you can try…

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Ziplining over the snow
  • Tube Slide
  • Igloo visit/stay
  • Snow trekking
  • 4*4 Gypsy ride
  • Stargazing

Other than this, wondering what Sethan is popular for? If you visit Sethan during Summer or Autumn (April, May, June, September, October and November) you can try…

  • Trekking/Hiking
  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Bouldering
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing

From Sethan, if you continue for 3 more km on the same Hamta Road you reach the starting point of the popular Hamta Pass Trek. It’s a 3-day trek that takes you to Chandratal in Lahaul-Spiti. Hamta Pass trek is one of the most popular treks in Himachal Pradesh.

One can visit Chikka (day 1 basecamp for Hamta Pass trekkers) in less than 4 hours from Sethan and camp there. With a beautiful river stream flowing next to the campsite, it will certainly make for a memorable experience. If not, one can put a tent (or choose from one of the many campsites in the village) anywhere near the village. Check this video below…

It is also possible to visit Brighu Lake, but the best route for Brighu is via Vashishth (or Bashisht).

There are many popular hotels (located not in Sethan but outside of the village, in the same valley) that can also be visited to enjoy their food and amenities. Other than the local delicacies that can be tasted in the popular Kalzang Dhaba; I suggest you visit GlampEco for their coffee (just a little expensive though!), Dream Hamta Cafe for Pizza; FootlooseCamps for Buddhist dishes like Momos, Timok and Thukpa; White Musk Resort for Italian Pasta; and Awe Glamping for traditional Indian Thali.

Please note that all the hotels/places mentioned just above are located between Prini Village and Sethan.

Weather In Sethan

Since Sethan is located at 2700m above sea level (Manali is 2050 metres) it remains comparatively cold throughout the year. During winter, expect the town to be covered under snow for at least 3 months.

Winter in Sethan can be harsh, so prepare accordingly. I have experienced freezing water pipes and the entire town (including all guesthouses) having no water supply for a week. During winter, expect the temperature to fall to -15 degrees Celsius.

During summer, Sethan gets a maximum of 15 degrees Celsius and not above. Since it’s quite high in altitude from sea level, expect intense sunlight. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses on a sunny day.

footloose camps manali

The Best Time To Visit?

Throughout the year honestly, except for monsoon.

During winter though, Sethan witnesses peak season. This is when the town hosts temporary igloo stays and activities like Snowboarding and Skiing.

During summer, people visit to enjoy trekking and hiking in the valley. It is ideal to try a camping experience in Sethan during May, June, September and October.

If you are interested, visit during the harvest season of late September and enjoy fresh apples, apricots, pears and other seasonal fruits.

That’s all in this blog, if you have more to add to this guide, leave a comment below!

Also Read: Offbeat Destinations Near Manali

Categories India

About

I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. Ras Bahadur Rai

    hi dev village scenario looks awesome I was amazed by the beauty of the nature of that village. Youtube video reminded me of the Everest base camp during the visit i was guided buy the Everest Base Camp Trek Guide. So i am planning to visit these place so your blog will be very helpful for upcoming journey to this place. Escaping from the cities chaos to this kind peaceful place will help to build new perception of seeing the thing.

  2. Hi Dev, found your article very informative and interesting. I am planning a trip to Uttarkashi in April end and would like to visit Sethan Valley around that time. How would the weather be? And what’s the best way to get there for uttarkashi. Dates I am looking at are between 22 – 30th April’ 2020.
    Please guide me.

    • Its will be almost 15 hours journey as you will have to again start from dehradun to manali.

      • Hi, how far/accessible are the spots for skiing from Footlosecamps and igloo stays?
        What are the prices for footlosecamps and igloo stays?

  3. Hey Dev,
    Me and 4other friends of mine are planning to come sethan on 26th dec’19 and will be needing you help in accomodation.

  4. Hi Dev, Is Sethan a place to visit without much of trekking, to catch the breathe taking mountain views/snow mountains during first week of December this year?

  5. Deepa Chakraborty

    Hi Dev, Me and 5 other adult mates are planning to visit Sethan Valley in June 21st. Please get back to me ASAP .

  6. could you call me or message me on 7021562237, me and wifey planning a 8 day trip to manali and near, could u accommodate or suggest us something dates are may 18 to 26 may

  7. Will 5 th dec-7th dec this year be ideal for skiing in sethan?

    • Yes Haritha, the entire month of December is good for skiing/snowboarding. I am going to Sethan too with my snowboard on Frida (30th Nov).

  8. Dear Dev,

    Is it fine to visit Sehtan on Novembewr end? Is snow around?

    Cheers,
    Raj

    • Yes Raj, November is a good time though I cannot predict snow. The best time for snow, however is between mid-december until mid-february. that’s when the probability is high and any snowfall stays on ground for longer because of lower temperature. However, november is good too, very chilly and clear skies 🙂

  9. April end , what can I expect in Sethan Village?
    are the hills still snow covered?

    • The tops are covered with snow, not the village. We didnt get much snow this year. You can camp and trek in April. I’ve started a campsite too if you want to do that: footloosecamps.com

    • Hi Dev, found your article very informative and interesting. I am planning a trip to Uttarkashi in April end and would like to visit Sethan Valley around that time. How would the weather be? And what’s the best way to get there for uttarkashi. Dates I am looking at are between 22 – 30th April’ 2020.
      Please guide me.

  10. Is it like tirthan valley ?? how far is it from there ?

    • About 5 hours. Tirthan to Kullu, Kullu to Prini (next town from Manali) and Prini to Sethan (45 min drive). So 2+2+45min=nearly 5 hours.

  11. Hi Dev,

    Me and my friend were looking to visit a place the coming week, 23-26 November, and were unable to find any suitable place to go.

    I asked one of my friend and he suggested me to see this blog.

    I did and the pics and everything looks fantastic. So wanted to know a few things, if possible, can you give me your number so that I can get some details regarding Sethan, since we are on a very limited budget and will be coming from Delhi.

    There are two main things I wanted to know, whether we would get to see snow the next week in Sethan, and secondly, is there any trek around there as you mentioned, keeping in mind we only have 4 days and have to return to Delhi Sunday night or early Monday morning.

    Any suggestions would be weclomed 🙂

    • Sure Raghav. I’m afraid the guy who ran the guest house previously is no longer running it full time. I am organising a guided tour to Sethan from New Delhi (leaving on 24th, returning 27th morning) let me know if you want to be a part of it. If you will already be in Manali perhaps you can join from Manali. I’m however yet to find a running guest house there. (PS: since Sethan covers in snow in winter, locals leave the town and move to Prini, which is on Kullu Manali Highway)

    • So basically you are saying that there would be snow there the next weekend?

      If possible, give me your number so that there is ease regarding the information I seek, as it would take a lot of time texting and gathering information over here..lol

  12. I stayed in Sethan in May this year, on my way to Hampta Pass, made friends with a couple of locals and fell in love with the place. I plan to go back there in February, when its all white and snowed under! The pics on your blog are a delight. Thanks!

    • That’s so great. I’ll be helping someone run a guest house between Jan-Feb, hopefully when you’re planning to revisit. Write me again when you arrive. Sethan is beautiful!

  13. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    The furthest North I went was to Dharamsala but I would love to visit this little-known region and town. Though I can’t stand the cold….lol (and I’m Canadian)!

  14. Tom @ Adventurous Travels

    So beautiful – staying in an igloo in India? That is something! Although the price may be discouraging. After seeing your posts about the north of India – I can see now how underrated it is. I must visit the north too now 🙂

    • North is underrated beacuse the government never promotes it. You should totally visit it sometime. Himalayas are BEAUTY!

    • Can these places be covered with small kods of age 3-6. Reply will be highly appreciated.

  15. this is a great post. Himalayas will definitely be among the top destinations to skip the chaos of big cities and go find some peace

    • yea it was totally offbeat. recommended to those who want to have some Me-Time with nature

  16. Divya Rai

    Hi Dev,
    I chanced upon your blogpost while looking for offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh, and I must say that I have figured out my next destination. Thank you for the details. This place looks interesting.

    • Thanks Divya. It’s a lovely place. In fact so lovely that after exploring much of India, it was in Sethan that I decided to start my own campsite. Check footloosecamps.com I’ve started it in Sethan just this month in April 2018 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *